Silicon Valley To Offer Cash Prizes to Inspire Inventors

New York Times reports that venture capital firms are considering contests that offer competing engineers and entrepreneurs multimillion-dollar prize purses if they come up with innovative technologies in various industries.

The concept is getting an introduction on March 3 at a fund-raiser at Google. The event is intended to raise a chunk of $50 million to operate the X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit group that already has awarded $10 million to designers of a private spacecraft.

The foundation plans to use the money to develop prizes in fields like medicine, poverty reduction and fuel-efficient cars. But the foundation’s next stage of prize-giving will also include partnerships with venture capitalists who, the group argues, can use prizes to spur entrepreneurs to innovate and, in turn, to create an efficient research and development machine.

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